Carlos was the sixth migrant child to die after being detained while entering the U.S.in less than a year.
ProPublica points out that legally, children are supposed to be transferred out of Border Patrol custody in 72 hours or less, but Hernandez Vasquez for some reason was held for 6 days. The next morning, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release, an agent checking on him found Vasquez "unresponsive". "It shows him staggering to the toilet and collapsing on the floor, where he remained in the same position for the next four and a half hours".
This happened on May 20 of this year and now ProPublica released a report after seeing video footage of his last hours in the cell revealing how Border Patrol neglected to care for his declining health. ProPublica obtained the video from the Weslaco Police Department, which investigated the death.
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A spokesperson for CBP declined to answer questions from ProPublica, saying, "While we cannot discuss specific information or details of this investigation, we can tell you that the Department of Homeland Security and this agency are looking into all aspects of this case to ensure all procedures were followed". Border Patrol logs say an agent performed a welfare check at 2:02 a.m., 4:09 a.m., and 5:05 a.m.
But CBP's former acting commissioner, John Sanders, told ProPublica he believed the USA government "could have done more" to prevent the deaths of Hernandez and at least five other children who died after being apprehended by border agents.
Dr. Norma Jean Farley, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, told ProPublica that she was told the agent looked through the window but didn't go inside.
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After the cellmate finds Carlos lying in a pool of blood, he alerts the guards who enter and discover Carlos had died. "I was part of that system at a very high level, and Carlos' death will follow me for the rest of my life". As border crossings surged this spring, U.S. President Donald Trump's administration sought to hold people for longer to end what it derided as the "catch and release" of immigrant families. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published. If you don't get the confirmation within 10 minutes, please check your spam folder.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee accused the Trump administration of misleading Congress and the public about the death of a 16-year-old boy in Border Patrol custody, and he urged a swift completion of an internal investigation. Reports of people jam-packed into cells without drinkable water or showers sparked national outrage. Thousands of those people are now waiting in squalid border camps.
The Guatemalan government brought Carlos' body home to his village of San Jose del Rodeo, home to indigenous Maya, to news coverage with the embassy calling for a thorough investigation of his death by the U.S. His former soccer teammates carried his casket down the long road to the cemetery with thousands of mourners following. "This is inexcusable", Thompson said in a statement Thursday evening.
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